Last year, the findings of a key industry report by ‘Project MARTHA’ were presented, identifying growing levels of fatigue, particularly among Masters and Watch Keepers and noting that motivation was a major factor in fatigue experienced by seafarers.
Seafarers are usually exposed to several stressors due to their demanding working environment. Specifically, they are confronted with mental, psychosocial, and physical stressors. The different duties onboard, separation from family, loneliness on board, fatigue, multi-nationality, limited recreation activity, and sleep deprivation are among the contributory factors of stress at sea.
AMSA and two universities recently surveyed 1026 seafarers visiting Australian ports. More than 20% reported that they felt strain due to being away from their family, and a considerable number of respondents reported that they work more than 69 hours per week. AMSA issued a safety awareness bulletin discussing possible risk factors and solutions.
Mental health and wellbeing are issues playing out regardless of whether they are ashore or onboard. The way a crew member may experience life onboard with other seafarers, himself or his workload is thus related to him or her as individual, multi-dimensional human being.
A unique strain of listeria has caused the world’s largest documented listeriosis outbreak, with over 550 cases reported since the start of 2017, in South Africa. Crews are advised to check ready-to-eat meat products and use diluted bleach to clean areas where the meat products may have been kept.
There is a series of mosquito borne and transferred diseases on board vessels. Examples of such diseases are malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever, Zika Virus, viral encephalitis. If not properly controlled, such vectors could breed on ship and could certainly be carried by ship. Infection with above diseases during voyage represents a serious risk to seafarers’ health and life.
In a response to ongoing outbreaks of yellow fever in Nigeria and Brazil, China has strengthened its quarantine inspection requirements to prevent the virus being carried to China by seagoing vessels. Yellow fever is a mosquito-borne disease with the potential to cause severe health implications.
As part of its Good Mental Health Guides series with ISWAN, the Shipowners Club issued two infographics focusing on mindfulness and mental health to enhance wellbeing onboard. The first reminds crews of mindful techniques for managing stress and the second highlights key components of positive mental health.
The Gard P&I Club issued an alert drawing attention on Asian Gypsy Moth, the destructive forest pest spread via ocean-going vessels in international trade, highlighting that Australia has heightened vessel surveillance for AGM and in New Zealand is introducing new AGM requirements from 1 February 2018.
The UK P&I Club recently focused on Seasonal Affective Disorder that could have a severe impact on seafarers’ health, as well as on maintaining safety onboard. Together with the daily stresses of the job, it can be easy for crew to feel overwhelmed, both mentally and physically.
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